A transformer struggles for survival in the Great War.

by Fred's Workshop

The blast lasts only an instant.

But the silence reigns. My auditory sensors are knocked off-line as the force of the impact slams me into the ground. I roll, trying to compensate for some of the momentum. I get to my feet only to have a second blast tear thru me, knocking me down again. This time, my motor-linkage is severed. I can no longer move from the waist down...which means transforming to flee this battle is out of the question. Up on my elbows, I drag myself thru the trench, trying to reach the field medic. The effort was in vain, as I see when I approach him. The same blast that crippled me cost First Aid his life. Groove fared no better outside of the trench; he lies a burning wreck not 100 yards from my position. Hotspot and Blades are still in the fight, but it is a losing battle, as our position is slowly over-run by the Decepticons. The order to retreat is given. As our warriors fall back, they take the time to gather up our wounded. Hotspot grabs me and FirstAid, and heads toward the evac shuttle. Blades scoops up what's left of Groove with his grappling hook (first taking care to extinguish the flames) and tows him in. Finally, blessedly, the doors to the shuttle close, and we blast off for home.

Home. What a strange word. As if any place other than Cybertron could really be considered our 'home.' Yet, the fact of the matter is, the Decepticons currently control our homeworld, so we are forced to maintain our forces on Cybertron's two moons, as well as on Earth.

Not that we have all that many forces left to maintain, at the moment. Many of us have been damaged, or otherwise taken out of the battle...and with Ratchet now our only functioning medic, I expect that situation will only get worse. We had FirstAid...but as he, like myself, is an integral component of Defensor, he had no choice but to accompany us into battle. Now, we're short another set of hands to patch and weld our comrades. And we no longer have any functioning gestault/combiner teams. Superion was taken out the battle before. Things do not look good for us. It will be a long while before we have any to do battle again. At least the same can be said for the Decepticons; other than Devastator, their gestault teams are in as poor a shape...

Triage teams are set up in the shuttle. Hoist walks among the wounded, determining who will be seen by Ratchet for immediate repairs, who can wait...and who will die.

Well, perhaps 'die' isn't the correct word. Deactivated, more like it. As long as there's some life left in a chassis, they can be repaired; brought back up to speed. It simply may be a long while before it can happen. Lack of spare parts, sometimes. Those comrades of ours are stored, and kept on minimal life support until they can be helped. It's only in extreme cases that a 'bot will be rendered permanently inoperative, with no hope of repair. I don't know how or why it happens; maybe their powercore goes permanently off-line...or maybe, as the humans say, they lose their 'soul'. Something about ascending to a higher level of being. But, I'm just a soldier. I'm not into that philosophical stuff. One time, in battle, I saw a 'bot go down, and stay down. His whole body turned kinda grayish right there in front of me. The medic took a look at him, merely shook his head, and left for the next guy. How could he know? He didn't even hook up any scanning equipment. Just that weird color loss...

I look around from where I'm propped, and gaze at the condition of my team-mates. They're in pretty bad shape; Groove is burnt. Melted, really, and right down to his endo-structure in some places. FirstAid has a gaping hole in his back, and is completely off-line, but I expect(hope, really) that they'll give him a high priority because of his surgical skills. I'd rather have him working on me; he has a better understanding of how I'm put together, in my opinion. I'm paralyzed, but I'm actually not that critical. All of my systems are functioning; just no motor linkage. Thus, no movement. None of the Protectabots turned that gray color, so I guess we'll live to fight another day.

The same can't be said for poor Fireflight. In the last battle, Superion took a tremendous hit to his chest, which of course translated into Silverbolt taking all the damage. The other Aerialbots chose to fight on in this battle without their group leader, with predictable results. They were scattered, disorganized. One of the cons got a bead on Slingshot. Fireflight saw it about to happen, and pushed him out of the way, taking the hit. And eventually turning that gray color. It's horrible. Just horrible. Hoist pauses over his body, with his hand over his fuelpump, head bowed for a moment, before moving on to the next patient. Another comrade lost. Looks like Superion won't be functional again even when repairs to Silverbolt are complete, unless they use a drone-bot in place of Fireflight...or control his body remotely. Or someone else could undergo a rebuild, becoming the new component for the gestault. Right now, it's hard to say which of those is likely. The easiest would be to control his body remotely, but that would leave Superion a dumber gestault, what with the missing piece of the mind in that mode. That could weigh against us later on...

Hoist comes over to me next. He casts a critical eye over my ripped lower torso. Before he can get a word out, I tell him that my motor linkage is shot, but that otherwise I'm fine. Just go work on someone else. Anyone else. I suggest FirstAid. He stands silent a moment, facing me. Then nods his head once, and moves to the front of the shuttle, where he is layed out. If he has him repaired first, there's a better change that no more of our friends will go permanently off-line today...

It's a matter of survival. For all of us.

Note: this takes place sometime just before the events chronicled in Transformers: The Movie. Maybe it's a typical day in the life of an Autobot; maybe it's an attempt to explain why we didn't see the other gestaults in the movie (they were too-damaged, or off on other missions). Or maybe there's no reason at all. Who can say?

To answer a number of people who asked: theory is this:

They(the other gestaults) came into being before the movie. Yet, they didn't appear in the movie. There must be some explanation. Yes, I know the 'real explanation' is that the movie was already being made before they knew about these characters...but I wanted an explanation that would fit the storyline. My explanation is that the gestault teams were all sitting in the repair bay during events in TF:TM so they weren't there fighting. Also, you will note that Superion was dumber, and had a different voice post-movie. Perhaps this is because one of his components wasn't there like it used to be... :-)